New to this and feel this is going to be a long post so please bear with me. I also just want to acknowledge I am aware as a sibling it’s quite different to being a main carer.
I am 38 and my brother has learning difficulties as well as epilepsy. He was born when I was 10 and I found myself feeling quite protective and close to him, almost like a backup Mum. I have other siblings but they rarely see my brother, just at Christmas and birthdays really.
My parents are great at doing all the practical things such as trying to ensure he can be independent as possible, ferrying him to and from appointments and picking up where the carers fall short sometimes all this whilst still working themselves which I think is a struggle and never ending!
However, I feel they aren’t so good at being loving (they struggled to show love to us too so it’s nothing personal to him) they moan A LOT at him because he’s like a typical teenager. It’s all very negative. I don’t think they think about how to make him happy as such. It’s more about keeping the day to day things going. It’s sad to see because I can see has now picking up some of their negative ways.
As a result of this I feel this obligation to try to make things better for him. I desperately want him to be happy and have a fulfilled life. However, it’s got to the point where I am getting really stressed and I hate to admit this, but resentful at times.
He lives in a supported living flat with a house mate with carers that come in to cook food and provide general support. His lifeline is his phone, he is constantly on WhatsApp, messaging me as well as others, but also he wants to facetime every night and I hate to say no, mainly because I feel sorry for him I think. That sounds awful but due to his learning difficulties the conversations are very repetitive and one sided so sometimes they feel like a chore.
I also struggle when I try to do a lot for him, take him away on holidays, mini breaks, to his favourite football ground, cinemas, restaurants etc. I also recently arranged for a new TV and games console to go in his bedroom as he was feeling he needed a space to go to when he wasn’t keen on the carer he had on some days. I want to do all these things, but I find myself becoming resentful because I don’t think they are appreciated. I don’t get any thanks from him (I put that down to partly his disability and part the negative role models he’s had) but also none from my parents. Even as I write this is can imagine people may say well look at all they do and they get no thanks!! Which is true.
Recently I’ve been quite ill myself and he will ask how I am but this is purely because he wants to know when I am well enough to do things with him again.
I know when my parents pass away I will be the one responsible for him, I imagine he will live with me one day which means I put a pressure on myself to work hard to ensure I have enough money to make sure this can happen.
I also have a paranoia around him having a fatal accident due to his Epilepsy which means I feel I can’t not check my phone each time he makes contact.
Finally, when I’m take him out, whether that’s for a walk or for food etc, I’m in a constant stressed state which her probably picks up on. I find it really hard to relax. I don’t know if this is to do with his disability but I have never seen him be really happy, he’s excited at the thought of things like a holiday but when it is happening, regardless of who he is with, he doesn’t seem to be that happy in the moment. It’s hard to explain but for example when I took him to go to Liverpools football ground, I looked at his face and there was zero excitement. Despite him being a huge fan. Which again makes it hard to do these things because I can’t seem to make him happy.
I just want him to be happy and for me to also be happy!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading.